Rising above adversity
By its very nature, Thanksgiving is a day to give thanks for what it is we have.
For many of us, that means our family, friends, home, job, and other things that bring us joy and excitement.
That especially rings true this time of year, with the holiday season in full gear and all the fuss that goes into it.
With so many things to be thankful for, it's easy for us to overlook perhaps the most important element of all: Our health.
About a week ago, I was out in front of my home raking leaves when my neighbor, Linda Muffley, walked by with her sister and her sister's husband.
Though I had heard Linda's health wasn't in the best of shape, I had no idea of the severity of her condition.
In early August, she was diagnosed with Metastatic cancer.
"Anyone who goes through cancer can agree the overwhelming feeling of being frightened beyond comprehension; scared, confused, will I live to see my grandchildren grow up," Muffley said. "Faith is tested, then a plan is put in place, and you see some hope."
Since her diagnosis, Linda said her oncologist's main focus has been to shrink a tumor on her liver.
After several scans and tests, she said a port was put in her chest to make the chemotherapy treatments easier. Three treatments later, there has been no change, Linda said.
As a result, Linda said the course has been changed for her to take eight pills a day, rather than the infusion of chemo. So far, she said it appears to be shrinking the tumor, with scans to follow for closer details.
In between, Linda said the side effects are extremely hard to deal with. Some days she cannot put one foot in front of the other, and has no desire to eat.
Her recourse is to "try to stay strong, and keep going on."
It just so happens that Linda is a person who I've been proud to call not only a neighbor, but also a friend and co-worker for many years.
As a young whippersnapper, I first met her while I worked at the then Laneco store in the Carbon Plaza Mall nearly 20 years ago.
At the time, the job served my purpose as a high school student looking to earn some money to pay for my car insurance, fuel my car, and save up for books for college.
Even back then, I remember Linda being very friendly and cordial, always willing to lend a helping hand to this newbie cashier.
Over time, our personal lives naturally took us in different directions, and our paths didn't cross again for about a decade until we met up through yet another shared occupation.
It was the tail-end of 2006 when Linda and I became reacquainted with each other as employees of the TIMES NEWS.
Linda was firmly entrenched as an advertising sales representative when I was hired as a reporter for the newspaper.
As Thanksgiving nears, Linda said she refuses to sit back and let a beautiful holiday like Thanksgiving pass her by. Instead, she said her family will help her to keep their traditions going on.
She said her family will begin the day by watching the Macy's parade, before they sample the pumpkin pie. The table will get opened as big as it gets, the nice tablecloth will come out, and so will their best dishes, Linda said.
Linda added, "I may not be able to enjoy the deliciousness of all the traditional delights, but I am sure to have a big smile on my face seeing my family enjoy it all."
Along the way, Linda will be sure to give her thanks in her own special way.
"I am thankful and truly blessed to have the life I have," Muffley said. "My entire family and friends are there for me, and are helping me get through this difficult time."
Keep that fighting spirit up, Linda, because you can be rest assured that you and your family are in our thoughts and prayers.